Bakery fined for refusing lesbian wedding cake appeals to US Supreme Court
A bakery in Gresham, Oregon, has appealed to the US Supreme Court after it was fined for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple back in 2013.
The petition was filed on Monday (October 22) by lawyers for Melissa and Aaron Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, reports The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The owners of Sweet Cakes were fined by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries in 2015, after they were found to have violated the state’s anti-discrimination legislation.
A woman, who remains unnamed, filed the complaint saying that co-owner Aaron Klein was happy to serve her until he found out that she was getting married to a woman and changed his mind.
An Oregon appeals court later upheld the order, with the state’s Supreme Court refusing to hear the case.
The owners of the bakery have reportedly filed a case to America’s highest court, asking it to overturn the $135,000 it was ordered to pay to the couple in emotional damages.
However, the US Supreme Court only reviews around 150 of the roughly 7,000 cases it receives each year, meaning the changes of this lawsuit being heard are slim.
The Supreme Court ruled in a similar case earlier this year, finding that the state of Colorado violated “religious freedom” protections by ordering a bakery to stop discriminating against same-sex couples.
The court ruled 7-2 in favour of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, in a decision which was heavily criticised by LGBT+ campaigners.
Bakery owner Jack Phillips had launched a legal challenge to state anti-discrimination laws after refusing to serve gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig.
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The baker refused to make a cake for the couple after he found out they were celebrating their wedding.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) had ordered him to “cease and desist from discriminating against same-sex couples by refusing to sell them wedding cakes or any product [they] would sell to heterosexual couples.”
But the Supreme Court issued a ruling overturning that order in June.
GLAAD president and CEOCEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that the Supreme Court’s ruling “emboldens the anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom and the Trump Administration in their persistent push to legalise discrimination against LGBTQ people under the misnomer of religious freedom.”
Ellis added: “LGBTQ people will continuously be vulnerable until the liberty and justice for all tenants of the Constitution apply to all Americans, including LGBTQ people.”